2017 Youth Ambassador Exchange Programme

The Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board is now seeking second level students to serve as Youth Ambassadors for 2017 on its Youth Ambassador Exchange Programme. The ideal Ennis Youth Ambassador is a leader excited by the opportunity to positively represent Ennis and Co. Clare by travelling to Phoenix, Arizona, experiencing new cultures, and sharing their own customs with foreign counterparts.

Since its inception in 1991, this annual cultural and educational youth ambassador initiative has had over 250 second level students participate in exchange programmes between Ennis and Phoenix. Additionally, in excess of 20 teachers were involved in an information technology exchange during the Ennis Information Age Town  project, some years ago.

Students who participate in the Ennis Youth Ambassador Programme have the opportunity to meet fellow students from other Phoenix sister (twinned) cities i.e.Calgary, Canada; Hermosillo, Mexico; Grenoble, France; Chengdu, China; Himeji, Japan; Prague, Czech Republic; Taipei, Taiwan; Catania, Italy and Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Purpose

The overall purpose of programme is to offer Ennis Youth Ambassadors the opportunity to appreciate and understand different cultures – with an overarching goal that the experience each participating student gains as a Youth Ambassador, will help prepare him/her to eventually assume their place with confidence, in the global community.

Exchange Dates for 2017

Phoenix Youth Ambassadors normally visit Ennis for a 3 week period in June while Ennis Youth Ambassadors travel toPhoenixin July for a further 3 week period.

Application & Selection Process

Application is open to Transition Year and 4th year students attending any second level school or college in Ennis. Each applicant must complete an application form, including supplementary information, and participate in group and/or individual interviews. Completed application forms, see below, must be returned to Margaret Neylon, Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board, c/o Chamber of Commerce, O’Connell Street, Ennis not later than Friday 4th November 2016.

Sponsorship/Costs

The Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board part sponsor the programme to an amount equal to: – the lesser of 50% of airline ticket cost or €500, per Youth Ambassador. The Board also sponsor a number of activities, which take place as part of the overall Programme.

Passport

Each Youth Ambassador is responsible for obtaining a valid Passport and ESTA.

Health

Purchase of Travel Insurance is the responsibility of each family. It is also the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide additional Health Insurance cover in case of illness or injury during the programme. In the event of illness, the Youth Ambassador is expected to follow the advice of the hosting family. If emergency treatment is required or serious illness occurs, the host family will notify a local co-ordinator and or the parent or guardian.

Youth Ambassador Responsibility

Each Youth Ambassador is expected to obey the laws of theUnited States. Youth Ambassadors should be sensitive to cultural nuances and not offend the religions, customs or politics of the host country. Ennis Youth Ambassadors are not permitted to operate motor vehicles while inPhoenixduring the programme. All Youth Ambassadors are expected to be co-operative in every aspect of family living, to be helpful with household duties and to assume the same responsibilities as the other members of the host family. Each Youth Ambassador is expected to participate in as many exchange programme activities as possible so that they may learn to live in that community and be able to relate these experiences upon their return.

Parent Responsibility

Parents are expected to support their daughter’s/son’s selection as a Youth Ambassador. Each family is expected to host a Youth Ambassador from Phoenix for approximately 3 weeks. Parents should be aware of their responsibilities and the requirements of the Ennis Youth Ambassador Programme including that, that the Youth Ambassador may be required to speak about his/her experience throughout the year following their trip.

Financial Responsibility

While Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board part sponsor travel costs between Ennis and Phoenix the balance of these costs will be the responsibility of the Youth Ambassador and/or their family. The Youth Ambassador should also be prepared to travel with expense money – the amount will vary depending upon the exchange rate and the personal shopping habits of each person. Each student selected as a Youth Ambassador will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit immediately following selection notification.

Travel and Outings

During the exchange, the Youth Ambassador may travel within the state of Arizonawith his/her host brother or sister and should participate in all outings organised by the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission. The Youth Ambassador may not travel alone to distant points unless he/she has the prior written permission of their legal guardians als0 the exchange Youth Ambassador’s legal guardians and notified the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission prior to travel. Where these outings occur they must be planned well in advance with a definite place of residence identified beforehand. A copy of your itinerary must be left with the host family.

Homestay

While staying with their host family, the Youth Ambassador will be expected to participate in their family life. This may include performing routine household tasks or chores and should be aware and alert to the fact that the host family will have “family rules” by which the Youth Ambassador is expected to abide.

Schedule Changes

All Ennis Youth Ambassadors travel to and from Phoenix as a group. If airline schedules change due to weather, missed connections, mechanical problems, etc., the Youth Ambassadors are required to stay together as a group.

Cancellation

If you are selected as a Youth Ambassador and alter, change and or cancel your participation due to political, weather, health and or other personal issues, the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board is not responsible for any costs you may have incurred. Once airline tickets are issued, the Youth Ambassador is responsible for all penalties and or cancellation fees resulting from his/her withdrawal from the programme.

Application Form and Checklist

Youth Ambassador Application Form

Youth Ambassador Checklist